Blueing the lawn mowing blade when sharpening.

Keeping your lawn mowing blades sharp can cut back on the time you spend mowing a yard. With a properly sharpened blade, you may be able to make one pass on a lawn where you might need to make multiple passes when the mower blade is dull. If you spread that time savings out across a day, wee, month, and year, it becomes some serious money. There are a few variables you need to be aware of when sharpening a blade. One of those is trying to avoid blueing the blade. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we learn more about what that is and why you should avoid it.

One lawn care business owner wrote “Can someone explain to me how to sharpen a blade correctly and not blue the blade? Can someone also explain what it is and how to avoid this.”

A second lawn care business owner responded “when a blade has a blue tinge, it’s caused from the blade getting to hot when sharpened. The finer the grit of the grinding wheel, the easier it is to get the blade too hot.

I suggest you run the blade quicker back and forth on the grinding wheel with less pressure to reduce bluing. That still may not help much if you have a really fine grit grinding wheel.

Another step I take is to use a commercial lawn mowing blade sharpener. It works great and doesn’t blue the blade unless I try to rush it. This isn’t practical for a home owner, they are expensive. It’s also important to balance your blades. It saves the life of your bearings in the spindle and reduces vibrations when blades are properly balanced. Keep in mind that new blades are seldom balanced.

On a side note, the first mowing will make a lawn mower blade unbalanced as well, but the better you start out with the better you end up.”

A third shared “when you blue the blade, it won’t hold the cutting edge nearly as long. Also when you change the color of the blade to a blue color you have taken the tempering out of the steel causing the metal to soften, allowing it to dull faster.

To sharpen my mower blades, I use a 4 1/2 angle grinder. I clamp the blade on the work bench, then holding the grinder at about a 40 degree angle to the flat of the blade I start grinding. DO NOT hold the grinder in one place and DO NOT push hard. If you do, you will blue the steel, that is over heat and lose tempering. Grind until the cutting edge is straight and sharp. Make a pass then spray water on the blade, make another, repeat until sharp.

If you do not feel comfortable doing this, go to you local dealer they usually have a small charge to do it. Here it’s $5 buck to sharpen blades (two).”

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